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Topic Three: Ego and the Martial Arts

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  • Topic Three: Ego and the Martial Arts

    Copied from the Discussion Archive

    The following was submitted to me as an actual and genuine email. What makes it more interesting than the usual, is the substance of the material involved. (What makes it really interesting, is the apparent age of the author; talk about having insight at an early age). I publish the email, as it was sent to me, with all identifying notations removed.

    Dear Doc,

    Thank you first of all for providing a good amount of information about the Shaolin and their philosophy. It will help me get a good grade on my report.

    The reason I'm writing you this is because a few problems I've been having with people and my own life, and judging by the info I've read, you might or might know someone that can give me some advice. I'm a guy that just started eighth grade, and all summer I've been reading books on Martial philosophy and techniques (I gained an interests in Asian Arts ever since I started believing in Buddhism). Mostly I read books on philosophy, and in every one they all mentioned on how to not let your ego consume, or as Lao-Tzu said:

    "Those who don't boast know, Those who boast don't know."

    I thought a lot about this especially. I've worked on self-control using meditation (at my age) and so far my attitude is better, I seem to have more friends this year. It's helped me a lot to "uphold" the rules Martial Arts. My friends sometimes ask me, "Can you beat up that person," and I always reply, "I don't know, I've never tried. What's the point anyway?"

    But ever since my self-control has improved, I've at my xxxx xxxx and Karate classes, that my fellow student's and teacher's lack of it. At xxxx xxx, the guy who runs the place is Grand Master xxxxxx, you might have heard of him. I've heard him before say things like how he has more skill than any other teacher in xxxxxx. I also dislike the way he conducts himself any time we win a tournament, and the way he prints his face and the school's phone number on our uniforms. But what I hate the most is how he never teaches a class, and he always lets kids who don't know what they're supposed to teach instruct a class of thirty. Karate is the same issue.

    What I want to know is if their is any such school that actually still follows the rules of Martial Arts. I have looked everywhere in xxxxxxxxxx for a decent instructor, but their egos seem to rule them all. Is it a fantasy that I'm thinking of, or does such a philosophy still exist.

    Thank you for reading, and hopefully responding.

    For a brief email, it really sends quite the dramatic message. And from a fourteen year old, who is just embarking on his/her journey through the martial arts.....
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  • #2
    He should come train with us...we're the best! We're so great that our humility has no bounds! And what's even better is that our greatness is so monumental that it doesn't even call attention to it's self! When you're this humble there's no need.



    -Jeff

    Comment


    • #3
      If the poster is still reading, here we go.

      I really hate to tell you this, but welcome to the karate world. You've just received an education many people never seem to get.

      Stay where you are and get what you can. Someone alot smarter than me said something like "If someone's got great technique and a lousy attitude, learn his technique. If someone's got a great attitude and lousy technique, learn his attitude."

      Start looking around for someone who "walks the way they talk." You now know what you don't want. I've found this knowledge is sometimes more important than knowing what you do want.

      Start with the phonebook. Try places like health clubs, YMCA/YWCA, community fitness centers, local colleges and so on.

      Doc, if you can send me the poster's location, I can ask my cohorts if they know of anyone.

      Poster - please don't send your location to the list

      Your teacher prints his face on the back of the uniforms? ! Now I've heard everything.

      Hang in there

      Mark
      Karate/Jujutsu at Akron Shaw JCC

      Comment


      • #4
        If the poster is still reading, here we go.

        I really hate to tell you this, but welcome to the karate world. You've just received an education many people never seem to get.

        Stay where you are and get what you can. Someone alot smarter than me said something like "If someone's got great technique and a lousy attitude, learn his technique. If someone's got a great attitude and lousy technique, learn his attitude."

        Start looking around for someone who "walks the way they talk." You now know what you don't want. I've found this knowledge is sometimes more important than knowing what you do want.

        Start with the phonebook. Try places like health clubs, YMCA/YWCA, community fitness centers, local colleges and so on.

        Doc, if you can send me the poster's location, I can ask my cohorts if they know of anyone.

        Poster - please don't send your location to the list

        Your teacher prints his face on the back of the uniforms? ! Now I've heard everything.

        Hang in there

        Mark
        Karate/Jujutsu at Akron Shaw JCC

        Comment


        • #5
          ak, double post,

          Well, I don't think you are wanting a dream world. I would look for a school that has etiquette or courtesy as part of it's school rules.

          Your teacher may also, be trying to help develop the kids leadership abilities. Although, not the way I would do it.
          http://www.blogger.com/profile/16155538

          Comment


          • #6
            From what I've seen, etiquette and courtesy are part of many school's rules. And, from what I've seen, it hasn't changed the mentality (and ego) of some of the instructors there. It's a problem in the martial arts world. One, I think, is based upon insecurities.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)
            russbo.com


            Comment


            • #7
              i would venture to say that a large portion of the martial arts world itself is based upon insecurities.

              Comment


              • #8
                So your teacher is supposed to be incredibly skilled, and yet he never teaches a class? I would be somewhat suspicious of that. Have you even seen him in action enough to know that he is what he says he is?
                Personally, I don't care if someone is a super-de-duper-grand-ultimate-great-grandmaster..
                if he's an ***hole, I don't want to study with him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are humble martial arts masters, and they're usually the best ones. They're just not easy to find.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe it's because they don't go showing there stuff to everyone? Doc, I was merely suggesting that as a starting point.
                    http://www.blogger.com/profile/16155538

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So, not that I haven't plugged the guy enough, but Dr. Yang Jwing Ming rocks. Great technique and even better attitude. I love that for a guy who has branches of his school all over the U.S. (though mostly in the northeast) as well as international schools, he still comes down to WESTERLY RHODE ISLAND of all places, with a TA who does what TA's should do, assist and not teach outright, and this man comes and teaches a class of eleven students in a ****ty area of a tiny little ****ty city in the smallest state in the country just because they asked him to come.

                      It was an incredible clinic, I only made it to the second day of the weekend, but I think it says alot that I really had to go out of my way to pay for it. Dr. Yang wasn't handling the money, and the fellow running the school kept giving us the runaround (before the clinic even started) when we tried to pay him.

                      He instructed us in the lovely traditional chinese fashion, occasionally he yelled at us, told us we our sword forms were ugly, and laughed quite a bit. But he never scolded withought making a lesson of it. I've got a teacher in school who just explained that in chinese culture, you yell at your family and you're polite to strangers. This means that if she yells at us she cares about us, but if she is polite and quiet, we're in deep trouble.

                      His teachings were incredible. Simple, profound excercises that I'll spend the rest of my life working on. When we broke for lunch he sat down with the rest of us, talked about the mechanization of farming, science fiction, and TCM schools. Then he went to meditate for an hour, and the rest of us had naptime. After that we trained the rest of the afternoon. The only time he said anything about his martial arts being any good, was when he told us how his wife's father wouldn't allow him to marry her until he thought his gongfu had improved enough.

                      There are wonderful teachers out there. You just have to find them. In the meantime, Mark's advice about learning what you can from a teacher is beautifully profound. That's all we really can do in life, learn what you can, and cultivate your virtue.

                      So, I hope the original poster is still following this thread, because dude, you're on the right path, just stick with it.
                      Show me a man who has forgotten words, so that I can have a word with him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah, Yang Jwing-Ming is one of those rare guys that aren't hard to find, yet are humble.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by daodejing
                          In the meantime, Mark's advice about learning what you can from a teacher is beautifully profound. That's all we really can do in life, learn what you can, and cultivate your virtue.
                          Wow. Thanks for the compliment.

                          Mark
                          Karate/Jujutsu at Akron Shaw JCC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In buddhism,there are many ways to explain the ego . One is the clinging to view, for instance to bel ieve you know when you dont know.
                            Another the one is the non realization of the empt iness of an independant self. What am I without th e sun, the rain, the farmers that bring me food? B eing dependant to outside conditions there is no w ay to cherish the ego as superior. Another non rea lization of the emptiness of the self is relation  to animals. To believe you are the master of the f ish is contrary to the Mahayana ethics of releasin g fishes to freedom. For Mahayana buddhism killing  the fish for food is building the Ego.
                            Namo Guan Yin Pusa / Dont create suffering / Dont harm animals!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Regarding the author of the original e-mail. Your insight, at your age, is something very special. Cultivate it. Enjoy your journey. Really, that is what it is all about. Learning what you can, that is of value, is certainly excellent advice. The trick is knowing when to move on. That time will come, and it sounds like you will have the ability to recognize it. Good luck. They say when the student is ready a true teacher will appear. Keep an eye out.

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